China’s Wanda Sells Contentious Madrid Landmark
Bought for 265 million euros, the historic Madrid building will be sold to a Spanish company after a feud with local authorities.
It is another case of sentimental tradition meets urban renewal, in the form of a feud between China property giant Wanda and Madrid’s left-wing town hall over historic Madrid skyscraper Edificio Espana. The former, having bought the building for 265 million euros in 2014 (now $292 million) wanted to demolish the facade and remodel the interior, essentially turning it into a hotel and shopping center. Naturally, this incensed the city’s authorities, who view the structure as a prized jewel, and believe that the original facade of this historically important landmark must be preserved. Drama thus ensued.
The feud eventually came to an end when Spanish investment group Baraka offered more than the 265 million euros Wanda paid for to purchase the building. While the exact amount is undisclosed, one can see the extent to which the Spanish pride their iconic estates, even when it has been vacant since 2006.
For a little more context, Wanda – owned by one of China’s richest men Wang Jianlin – has been on a overseas acquisition spree, with Hollywood studio Legendary Entertainment (bought for 3.5 million in January), US cinema chain AMC Entertainment (for $2.6 billion) among others under his name. With Edificio Espana now in the hands of a Spanish company, Madrid residents can now rest assured that it is not just another pawn in yet another collecting game of a billionaire. On the flipside, the new owners will have to see what they can do with the space while taking into consideration the need to conserve the building.